Gabriela Partylist Congresswoman Emmi de Jesus, representing the poor mothers and the Filipino women in general, joined the protesters and questioned the P1.496 billion DAP realigned by the Department of Health to Philhealth as unjustifiable. Philhealth is the health insurance firm of the government which supposedly seeks to provide health care insurance for Filipinos. It can be remembered that President Aquino on his second SONA said that 81% of Filipinos are now covered by the government’s universal health program. But many organizations disputed this claim including the President of the Philippine Medical Association, Leo Olarte. He pointed out that the 2008 National Demographic Survey showed that only 38% of respondents were aware of at least one household member enrolled in PhilHealth. “Aquino has not just pampered the debt-ridden PhilHealth with huge allocations last year in the national budget, He even poured more illegal DAP funds on this program that does not benefit poor patients,” said de Jesus. Instead of pouring in money to the project, de Jesus points out that the government must instead fund all government health facilities and the health care workers.
PhilHealth has also been hounded by controversies when no less than the Commission on Audit declared that up to P1.5 billion of PhilHealth’s funds went to bonuses for its executives and employees last year, a giant surge from P1.45 billion worth of bonuses from 2012. This is in the face of the P250.15 million debt PhilHealth owes to hospitals, medical facilities and PhilHealth members whose insurance claims are yet to be paid. In 2012, only 17% of all the claims were paid by the government corporation.
However, contrary to the popular call of Gabriela for increased government subsidy to the hospitals, the government’s thrust is towards working with the private sector under its flagship economic program Public-Private Partnership.
[quote_center]Sa halip na maglaan ng pondo sa mga pampublikong ospital, tinutulak pa ng pambansang gobyerno ang mga lokal na pamahalaan na pagkakitaan ang serbisyong pangkalusugan,[/quote_center]
Rose Bihag, Vice Chairperson of Gabriela in Manila says, “Sa halip na maglaan ng pondo sa mga pampublikong ospital, tinutulak pa ng pambansang gobyerno ang mga lokal na pamahalaan na pagkakitaan ang serbisyong pangkalusugan,” (Instead of allotting funds for public hospitals, the local and national government are pushing to make a business out of social services).